Sex Crime Attorney in Rockville, MD
Maryland recognizes both rape and sexual offenses, also known as sexual assault, as punishable crimes. A person can receive a charge of either first-degree or second-degree rape depending on the severity and accompanying aggravating factors. These include such things as displaying or using a weapon against a victim, committing rape while using violence or force, or the rape of an especially vulnerable person such as a child or elderly victim. A sexual assault charge can range from first-degree to fourth-degree.
Classifications and Penalties for Rape in Maryland
Rape in the first degree means that the assailant forcibly had sexual intercourse with the victim without his or her consent. The person committing the rape may have used excessive force or weapons, caused serious physical injury, attempted to choke the victim, threatened him or her with death for not cooperating, attempted to kidnap the victim, or assisted another person in carrying out the rape.
A conviction of first-degree rape could carry a sentence of life in prison. This is true whether the assailant actually committed the rape or attempted to but could not due to the victim fighting back or interference from another person. Life in prison without the possibility of parole is the maximum sentence for anyone who rapes a kidnapped child who is less than 16 years old or if a person over age 18 raped a child under age 13. In the case of the latter, the person must spend at least 25 years in prison before a parole board can consider release.
Rape in the second degree can include any one of these actions:
- Forcing or threatening the victim to have vaginal intercourse without consent.
- Having or attempting to have intercourse with a physically or mentally incapacitated victim without consent. This includes unconscious people and those heavily under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The rape victim is under age 14 and the perpetrator is at least four years older.
Someone convicted of second-degree rape will face a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. This includes attempts as well as completed rapes. If the accused person is at least 18 and rapes a child under age 13, Maryland law calls for a minimum 15-year prison sentence and a maximum of life in prison.
Classifications and Penalties for Sexual Assault in Maryland
The definition of first-degree sexual assault includes forced anal or oral sex or using any object to penetrate someone else’s anus or vagina for personal gratification without that person’s consent. It doesn’t include forced sexual intercourse as that falls under the scope of first-degree rape. The charge is first-degree sexual assault if the perpetrator used force, displayed a weapon, attempted to suffocate the victim, threatened him or her with death, caused a serious physical injury, or committed the assault with the help of another person during the course of a burglary. The potential criminal penalties for first-degree assault are the same as for first-degree rape. This includes the possibility of life in prison with special rules applied based on the age of the defendant and victim
Second-degree sexual assault includes a forced sexual act on another person, excluding intercourse. The description of the forced sexual contact and the potential penalties match those of second-degree rape.
Sexual assault in the third degree includes intentionally touching the victim’s anal or genital area for personal gratification without that person’s consent. It can also include the defendant forcing the victim to do the same to him or her. A person may face this charge in the following situations:
- Statutory rape: This involves a person over age 21 engaging in anal, oral, or vaginal sex with a 14 or 15-year-old, even if that person consented to the act.
- Using a weapon, threatening, attempting to strangle, kidnapping, or causing a serious injury to the victim while forcing unwanted sexual contact. It also applies to anyone committing these acts with another person’s help.
- The sexual assault victim is under age 14 and the perpetrator is at least four years older than him or her.
- The defendant knows that the victim is drunk, unconscious, or mentally or physically handicapped in some way and still commits the sexual act.
Maryland considers third-degree sexual assault a felony crime. Anyone convicted of this crime faces a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Fourth-degree sexual assault includes any of the following acts:
- The defendant is at least four years older than a 14 or 15-year-old with whom he or she engages in any type of sexual act.
- An employee of a school or a person in a position of authority committing a sexual act against a student under age 18 currently enrolled in the school.
- Engaging in any type of sexual contact without the consent of the other person.
This charge is a misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. However, a judge will increase the sentence to three years and impose the same fine for anyone who has a previous sex crime on record.
Anyone convicted of a sex crime in Maryland must register on the state’s sex offender registry. The minimum registration requirement is 15 years and the maximum is life, depending on the specific charge, severity of the crime, and its effect on the victim. Inclusion on this list has a significant effect on where the accused can live and work for the duration that his or her name remains on it.
Retain an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney as Soon as Possible
If the state has accused you of a sex crime, the prosecution will begin building its case against you immediately. The longer you wait to hire an attorney to defend you, the more evidence the prosecution is likely to uncover. Jonathan Fellner, Attorney at Law, has many years of experience defending people accused of these types of crime. Keep in mind that a charge doesn’t mean you’re guilty. However, you will need experienced representation to disprove the allegations made by the prosecution. You may contact Mr. Fellner at 301-309-2000 to request your free initial consultation.